NEW YORK: Anheuser-Busch InBev, the brewing group, is hoping to maximise the impact of its ads by introducing digital coolers – capable of showing content like TV spots and video – into physical stores.

Anson Frericks, senior director/brand activation at Anheuser-Busch InBev, discussed this topic at the latest ad:tech New York conference.

He framed the debate by looking at the firm's Budweiser brand, which secured a major advertising hit during the 2014 Super Bowl with a commercial featuring its iconic Clydesdales and a puppy.

While this effort generated considerable viral traction, Frericks reported, the returns measured in actual sales were rather more muted.

"Our consumer purchases beer generally in a very different environment than they consume advertising," he asserted. (For more, including further details about this digital solution, read Warc's exclusive report: AB InBev extends appeal from puppy commercials to in-store coolers.)

"What my team is tasked with doing is trying to figure out how we make our ads more relevant to the consumer at the time the consumer is going to purchase, taking into account the whole way the world is moving from a digital standpoint."

And engaging shoppers "in the occasion, when they're purchasing beer, with our ads talking to them directly" may well achieve that aim.

Indeed, Frericks suggested, digital solutions such as the connected coolers – which boast translucent screens and can be programmed from a central location – promised to deliver that result.

"It's really revolutionising how we are actually reaching our consumer at the point of sale," he said.

There is also a strong statistical underpinning to support the idea that these appliances could boost sales, further enhancing the possible benefits for the company.

"If you look at beer sales in the US, and you look at our sales at each convenience store, grocery store and packaged-liquor store, our percentage of sales at that store is directly related to the amount of cold space that we have in that store," said Frericks.

"And then if we can reach those consumers with our coolers with amazing digital strategies, we can even drive incremental volume to our advertising and reach the consumers when they're about to shop."

Data sourced from Warc